Fantasy RB Rankings Week 17: Who to start, sit at running back in fantasy football

Fantasy championship week has finally arrived, and those fortunate enough to still be playing are undoubtedly wondering how they survived. Whether you’ve compensated for the loss a key running back with a well-timed waiver pickup, or you just haven’t experienced any hits from injury/COVID yet, chances are you’ll have at least one or two issues this week. Our Week 17 fantasy RB rankings can help you navigate whatever comes your way and make the right start ’em, sit ’em decisions.

It remains to be seen if Dalvin Cook (reserve/COVID) even has a chance to return for Week 17’s game against Green Bay, but if he is able to, he won’t be activated until the coming weekend. Austin Ekeler (reserve/COVID) is more likely to return for his game against Denver. As long as either is active, he’ll remain a must-start. 

Quarterback | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Rashaad Penny (vs. Lions), Elijah Mitchell or Jeff Wilson Jr. (vs. Texans), Devin Singletary (vs. Falcons), Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris (vs. Jaguars), and D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams (@Seahawks) are all borderline starters or at least matchup-dependent starters most weeks, but they all look good in Week 17. It might be tough to trust Swift (shoulder) or Mitchell (knee) if they’re back, but their respective teams wouldn’t activate them if they weren’t going to see significant touches. Stevenson (reserve/COVID) might actually be the biggest wild card after Harris had a dominant showing, but that had been a pretty even split before Stevenson’s health issues. 

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

On the flip side, Dare Ogunbowale (@ Patriots), Darrel Williams (@ Bengals), Josh Jacobs (@ Colts), Sony Michel (@ Ravens), Michael Carter (vs. Buccaneers), Myles Gaskin (@ Titans), Chuba Hubbard (@ Saints), Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray (vs. Rams), and Rex Burkhead (@ 49ers) are all in tough spots. Michel, Williams, and Jacobs are tough to sit in 12-team leagues, but the rest seem best suited for benches, at least in standard leagues. Even with that said, guaranteed touches have value, and Ogunbowale and Burkhead look primed for 15-plus opportunities. Carter won’t be far behind. Would you rather have one of those backs or, say, AJ Dillon (vs. Vikings) in a much more favorable matchup? In standard, you’d probably rather have Dillon, but it’s debatable. Pick your poison.

Fortunately, most of the toughest matchups either go to must-starts like Cook/Alexander Mattison (@ Packers) or Ezekiel Elliott (vs. Cardinals), or they go to players you won’t feel bad about leaving on your bench. Of course, you might be forced to start someone like Gaskin or Carter because of injuries or COVID, but, again, at least you’ll be using players who get a decent amount of touches. 

Every year, unlikely heroes star in Week 17 in money games. This year, that might be Ronald Jones (@ Jets), Penny, Wilson Jr., or someone who’s third on a team’s depth chart as of this publishing. Plenty of adjustments will need to be made to these rankings (and start ’em, sit ’em decisions) before Sunday’s kickoffs, so make sure your starters are handcuffed and be ready to hit the waiver/free agent wire all throughout the week. 

Note: We’ll be updating these RB rankings throughout the week, so check back for analysis and the latest player movement.

Fantasy RB Rankings Week 17: Who to start at running back

Rankings are based on standard, non-PPR scoring

Rank Player
1 Jonathan Taylor, IND vs. LV
2 Aaron Jones, GB vs. MIN
3 Nick Chubb, CLE @ PIT
4 Ronald Jones II, TB @ NYJ
5 Dalvin Cook, MIN @ GB
6 Rashaad Penny, SEA vs. DET
7 D’Andre Swift, DET @ SEA
8 Joe Mixon, CIN vs. KC
9 Austin Ekeler, LAC vs. DEN
10 Javonte Williams, DEN @ LAC
11 Najee Harris, PIT @ CLE
12 Ezekiel Elliott, DAL vs. ARI
13 Saquon Barkley, NYG @ CHI
14 Jeff Wilson Jr., SF vs. HOU
15 Melvin Gordon, DEN @ LAC
16 Damien Harris, NE vs. JAX
17 Alvin Kamara, NO vs. CAR
18 Cordarrelle Patterson, ATL @ BUF
19 David Montgomery, CHI vs. NYG
20 Antonio Gibson, WAS vs. PHI
21 Sony Michel, LAR @ BAL
22 Miles Sanders, PHI @ WAS
23 Devin Singletary, BUF vs. ATL
24 James Conner, ARI @ DAL
25 Darrel Williams, KC @ CIN
26 D’Onta Foreman, TEN vs. MIA
27 Rhamondre Stevenson, NE vs. JAX
28 Josh Jacobs, LV @ IND
29 Michael Carter, NYJ vs. TB
30 AJ Dillon, GB vs. MIN
31 Jamaal Williams, DET @ SEA
32 Chase Edmonds, ARI @ DAL
33 Dare Ogunbowale, JAX @ NE
34 Rex Burkhead, HOU @ SF
35 Myles Gaskin, MIA @ TEN
36 Chuba Hubbard, CAR @ NO
37 Jordan Howard, PHI @ WAS
38 Devonta Freeman, BAL vs. LAR
39 Latavius Murray, BAL vs. LAR
40 Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB @ NYJ
41 DeeJay Dallas, SEA vs. DET
42 Tony Pollard, DAL vs. ARI
43 Royce Freeman, HOU @ SF
44 Darrell Henderson, LAR @ BAL
45 Derrick Gore, KC @ CIN
46 Justin Jackson, LAC vs. DEN
47 Craig Reynolds, DET @ SEA
48 Matt Breida, BUF vs. ATL
49 Mike Davis, ATL @ BUF
50 Mark Ingram, NO vs. CAR
51 Zack Moss, BUF vs. ATL
52 Dontrell Hillard, TEN vs. MIA
53 Nyheim Hines, IND vs. LV
54 Jeremy McNichols, TEN vs. MIA
55 Devontae Booker, NYG @ CHI
56 Brandon Bolden, NE vs. JAX
57 Tevin Coleman, NYJ vs. TB
58 Duke Johnson, MIA @ TEN
59 Jaret Patterson, WAS vs. PHI
60 Alexander Mattison, MIN @ GB
61 Boston Scott, PHI @ WAS
62 Samaje Perine, CIN vs. KC
63 Phillip Lindsay, MIA @ TEN
64 D’Ernest Johnson, CLE @ PIT
65 Joshua Kelley, LAC vs. DEN
66 Ameer Abdullah, CAR @ NO
67 Peyton Barber, LV @ IND
68 Khalil Herbert, CHI vs. NYG
69 Jonathan Williams, WAS vs. PHI